Category Archives for Business

Tips for working from home

Here are a number of suggestions for PC users. Some of the applications will be different when using a Mac but the concepts are the same across platforms.

1. Setup Your Workstation

a. Confirm the environment – Checklist Below
b. Lighting for improved video – Tabletop lighting kit
c. Noise cancelling Headset – Plantronics Voyager 8200
d. Ensure you have multiple screens – at least two

2. Leverage your O365 collaboration suite

Your O365 suite can be installed on almost any device so it can follow you where ever you go. PC, Mac, iPhone and Android – Business license options provide 5 x installs so you can have it on every device you own.

Microsoft Outlook

Use Microsoft Outlook to Email and also to schedule your day. Remember you can use templates to send standard information to people. Microsoft Teams meetings can be scheduled from inside Outlook as well.

Microsoft OneDrive

Use OneDrive to stage your personal documents before releasing them to the world. You can choose to share documents from OneDrive directly or move them to the correct location in SharePoint. Also handy for personal storage of data as it is not shared by default.

Microsoft OneNote

If you write notes on a piece of paper, you have to check out OneNote – it is a notebook on steroids. You can create lists to be checked off, insert photos and share it across your PC, phone and / or Mac computer. Anywhere you have a device, you also have access to your OneNote notebook. This is a must have & must use for senior managers and executives.

Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint can be used to share with all people or a chosen few based on permissions. You can also leverage the power of search and workflow.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams allows you to Video, Screenshare, Chat, Store Documents and Collaborate. You can blur your background if you are in a busy environment (though sometimes pets or children provide entertainment for a team meeting). If things are a little jerky, turn off video and or consider using mobiles for voice if practical. Your Voyager 8200 will connect to a laptop and mobile phone simultaneously so choose which device whilst keeping your headset on. We recommend you try using plug in applications like Microsoft Whiteboard to draw and share explanatory diagrams or use the templates for collaborative problem analysis.

3. Fast feedback and extra tools

a. Screen shots – Snipping Tool (Included with Windows) – Right click and add it to your task bar
b. Screen recording / Video Editing – Snagit or Camtasia

4. Productivity and Safety

a. Ensure all remote computers are centrally monitored with
i. Antivirus
ii. Windows Patching
b. Anything that can have 2 Factor Authentication applied, must have it turned on
c. Everyone should use a password manager such as LastPass

Keeping your team connected

  • Every Wednesday at 9am, we run an EOS level 10 meeting. If you have not come across EOS from Gino Wickman, do yourself a favour and check it out. I don’t know anyone who follows the system that does not love it.
  • Whilst working remotely, we have a twice daily huddle at 10 am and 2:30pm. It is a scheduled 10 minute MS Teams video call to keep everyone connected. It is a little like a water cooler chat and it makes the world of difference to isolated individuals.
  • Create specific channels in your MS Teams chat to ensure everyone is kept up to date. Eg:
    • All Staff – To let everyone know what is happening.
    • Daily Huddle – Succinct update as to were people are at any given point in time.
    • Conference Update – There are always key learnings from a conference. Get people to post these important details and/ or, link a shared OneNote file for conferences to capture and share the IP.
    • Talkin’ Shite – Have a non business channel for silly stuff for the team to let off steam. Ensure the content is appropriate as one doesn’t want a HR issue. You know what works for your company. Remember that when a new person joins, they have access to all of the history as well. This is great for capturing IP. Less so for racist, sexist or straight up inappropriate comments.

      Base the channels on what is relevant for your organisation. Larger organisations may wish to break things down by department. Remember to KISS (Keep It Simple).

Super Important Note

There are a lot of IT variables when working from that would normally be controlled in a central location ie The Office. These include the Firewall, Internet connection, Wireless and most importantly, the computer which is used to work from home.

If using non IT controlled assets, there may be different software versions to cause compatibility issues, No patching updates to close out security risks, Unmanaged Anti-Virus products that may be ineffectual or even expired with no notification to resolve the issue.

All of these variables can cause additional issue. Our number one piece of advice around remote workers is to utilise centrally controlled IT assets to ensure your systems remain safe.

Remote and Flexible Working Agreement

You can download a sample agreement for modification as required by your company. The form can be deployed in a number of different ways including:

Technology Co-Sourcing Saving Tens of Thousands for WA Business

Technology Co-Sourcing is saving WA Businesses tens of thousands of dollars in labour costs.  The increase in outsourced IT has been driven by the needs of the business community to have a partner who understands the commercial and technical element of their specific IT infrastructure. Therefore, it is important that you choose the right partner to deliver your business needs.

What is Co-Sourcing?

Co-sourcing is the ability to not just have an outsourced IT company, but an internal IT resource, on site, in your offices, but can be any one of up to 8 different techs, depending on the needs of your business at any given time.

Rather than employing a single IT Manager for say, an annual wage of $120,000, or a level 1 tech for $60,000 annually, you could have a team of IT experts, from senior engineers with over 25 years experiences all the way to a team of level 1 technicians on call for you, for less than the cost of one employee. 8 for the price of one, just must be good for the company bottom line, doesn’t it?

Co-sourcing is the ability to not just have an outsourced IT company, but an internal IT resource, on site, in your offices, but can be any one of up to 8 different techs, depending on the needs of your business at any given time.

IT Managers need outsourced help too.

A lot of IT managers just simply don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything they want to do. This is not to say that by outsourcing IT you have to make the role of the IT Manager redundant, it is important to understand there can be a need for both in order to maximise time and resource. The IT Manager can work with an outsourced technology partner to develop strategy and to deliver commercial improvements for your business thus increasing productivity and efficiency.

The number one reason for not outsourcing IT is that companies believe they cannot afford to do so. With the rapid increase in Cyber Crime and with the constant changes in the tech world can you really afford not to?

A technology partner should be an investment and a way to improve the overall function of technology within your business, improving the efficiency of both the infrastructure and your employees. The decision you make on which partner you choose will define whether this is a cost to your business or a value.

Co-Source your IT with Domain Digital.

Have you considered a co-source arrangement? For less than the cost of on-boarding one new employee in your IT department, partnering with Domain Digital gives you access to an entire team of people with a wealth of experience and knowledge, all for you to utilise to improve your business. To find out more, call Damian on 0407 446 473 to arrange an obligation free discussion on how Domain Digital can add value to your business.

Business email compromise – a fast growing scam, how not to be a victim.

Cyber.gov.au recently advised that the Melbourne Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSC) hosted a two-hour seminar yesterday on Business Email Compromises (BECs), which many cyber security experts consider to be the major current cybercrime threat to business.

The seminar provided information to small and medium business representatives, as these sectors are particularly targeted by cybercriminals who are perpetrating BECs.

The JCSC worked with Small Business Victoria, the Victorian Small Business Commissioner and the ACCC’s Consumer and Small Business Strategies Branch, to invite key Victorian business stakeholders to yesterday’s event.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is an online scam where a cybercriminal impersonates another business representative to trick an employee, customer or vendor into transferring money or sensitive information to the scammer.

Around 90 representatives attended the session in Melbourne, with the event video-conferenced across the country including to regional Victoria and Hobart.

The session was presented by a panel of five industry and government cyber security experts including Alex Tilley, e-Crime Lead for the Counter Threat Unit at Secureworks.

‘When you realise 41% of Australian businesses have no cyber security governance, it isn’t surprising they’re being targeted so specifically by cybercriminals. Australian businesses need to act fast and take their cyber security as seriously as other commercial risks,’ Mr Tilley said.

The experts provided a comprehensive examination of what BECs are, why they are so harmful, who are perpetrating BECs, how they are evolving, how government helps businesses, and the actions businesses can take to prevent themselves from becoming victim.

What is Business Email Compromise?

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is an online scam where a cybercriminal impersonates another business representative to trick an employee, customer or vendor into transferring money or sensitive information to the scammer.

Because these scams don’t often use malicious links or attachments, they can get past anti-virus programs and spam filters. These emails can include invoices or fines that may include threats to cancel your service or charge an excessive penalty if you don’t pay immediately.

This type of attack, due to the low implementation cost and high returns, is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing online business scams.

In Australia business email compromise has resulted in more than $20 million in associated losses across 2016-17.

Criminals are constantly developing increasingly sophisticated BEC techniques that often include a combination of social engineering, email phishing, email spoofing and malware.

What we’re seeing

The ACSC is responsible for building cyber resilience across the whole of the economy by supporting governments, large corporate and small and medium business, academia, the not-for-profit sector and the Australian community.

This type of attack, due to the low implementation cost and high returns, is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing online business scams.

Over the past three months the Centre’s global monitoring team has been on hand to assist business owners who have been impacted.

The team has received dozens of BEC incidents, requests or notifications from individuals and affected organisations in the private, academic, government and critical infrastructure sectors.

A large portion of the enquiries came from the construction industry, in part due to the high percentage of transactions between builders and their suppliers.

One instance included the owner of a small cabinet-making business who received and paid an invoice for $40,000 from a local supplier whose email had been compromised. The phishing email used their supplier’s logos and branding to appear legitimate to the business owner, deceiving him into paying the full amount.

In another phone call a small construction supply company reported that one of their large construction clients received an email purporting to be from them, seeking to change their bank account details. The email had an invoice and email signature block that looked legitimate. Because the construction client confirmed the request with their supplier, no funds were lost.

The ACSC also noticed spikes in BEC attacks around tax time, most likely in an attempt to catch businesses off-guard during a busy point of the financial year.

How to protect and recover from a Business Email Compromise

The ACSC has developed comprehensive guidance to help organisations protect themselves from business email compromises.

Educating your staff, establishing a consistent business process for validating payment and information requests and protecting your network is vital to ensuring limited exposure to these types of scams.

Educating your staff, establishing a consistent business process for validating payment and information requests and protecting your network is vital to ensuring limited exposure to these types of scams.

Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Encourage your staff to trust their instincts and check anything suspicious via a phone call or face-to-face. Organisations like Domain Digital have specific security training platforms that can not only test your staff to see if you have potential vulnerabilites, but then offer a training and education platform to ensure you’re as secure as possible.

For more information

Talk to us, we can advise and educate you and by taking a few simple steps to lock down your online security, together we can reverse the threat of cybercrime. Simply visit www.domaindigital.com.au or call (08) 6441 6300.

For more news and information relating to online threats and mitigation, visit Cyber.gov.au.

Ransomware (Malware) Costing Business Billions – How does it affect your Perth business?

According to Bella Wilkinson, Recruitment Insurance Broker at Gallagher’s, malware is the most predominant cybercrime threat in Australia, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). And ransomware – a virulent type of malware – is a rising threat to businesses in Australia and abroad. But what is it? And how does it affect your business?

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (otherwise known as ‘malware’) that restricts people from accessing their computer or smartphone, or individual files stored on them. Attackers extort money from their targets by holding their device or data to ransom, often threatening to release or erase it to force payment.

Security vendor Symantec has seen an explosion in this type of malware across the globe, according to the latest Internet Security Threat Report 2016 (ISTR), and Australia is one of the most heavily affected regions. Symantec blocks an average of 250,000 potential ransomware-loading attachments every year in Australia alone, representing a 141 percent increase in attacks over the last year.

How can ransomware affect your business?

The services industry is the sector most affected by ransomware, accounting for 38 per cent of reported infections in the last year. Businesses in this sector, such recruitment agencies, handle high volumes of data and typically integrate with various internet services and applications that expose them to infections.

Recruitment agencies are particularly vulnerable to attacks. Downloading files like applications, CVs, portfolios and contracts is an essential and everyday function for a recruiter, but antivirus software may not always pick up on files that contain ransomware.

And what’s more, data (and the ability to access it) is the most important asset a recruitment agency has. You know that without it, you can’t process candidates or fill positions – and ransomware attackers know this too.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (otherwise known as ‘malware’) that restricts people from accessing their computer or smartphone, or individual files stored on them. 

Calculating the cost of ransomware

As the threat of ransomware grows, so does the cost. In Australia:

  • Cybercrime has cost $1.2 billion in the past year;
  • An average 24,000 attacks occur each day, costing between $420-$700 per incident; and
  • 13.7 hours are lost per attack.

But a ransomware attack implications beyond the cost of the ransom itself. Businesses that experience a ransomware attack face:

  • Cost of replacing compromised devices
  • Loss of proprietary data
  • System downtime, which affects ability to operate
  • Reputational damage
  • Potential legal penalties arising from poor security or handling of data

Is your business prepared for ransomware?

Most businesses have an IT policy and a disaster recovery plan, but surprisingly few are adequately prepared to handle a ransomware attack. This is in part because they don’t understand the risks, and because ransomware threats evolve at a pace that antivirus software struggles to keep up with.

As a business owner/manager, ask yourself:

  • What would you do if you received a ransom demand? Would you turn to your Head of IT, the legal department, law enforcement, or someone else?
  • How would your business cope if it lost access to its data? Would you still be able to contact candidates and clients?
  • What would you do if an attacker threatened to release your database? What would happen if personal information about your staff and clients was released?

Having an executable plan for a ransomware attack is the key to minimising its impact on your business.

Recruitment agencies are particularly vulnerable to attacks. Downloading files like applications, CVs, portfolios and contracts is an essential and everyday function for a recruiter, but antivirus software may not always pick up on files that contain ransomware.

How to deal with a ransomware infection

If you experience a ransomware infection, you should follow these steps:

  • Isolate the infected computer. Disconnecting infected laptops, computers and smartphones help prevent the ransomware attacking other network drives.
  • Don’t pay the ransom. There’s no guarantee that an attacker will decrypt your files or restore access to your advice, and the ransom may be used to fund attacks against others. Explore your options first.
  • Explore your options. You can restore any damaged files from a backup and minimise the amount of time your system is down. As a rule, you should be backing up at least once a day. You can also attempt to decrypt your files, accept the loss of data and wipe your infected drives, or pay the ransom.

Are you prepared for a ransomware? Engaging a proactive IT support partner, like Domain Digital, can ensure you are as protected as possible and in the event of an attack, back up and running as quickly as possible with minimal data loss and system downtime. Visit www.domaindigital.com.auor call us on (08) 9441 6300 to find out how we can help protect you.

Hacking your holiday: How Perth travellers are being increasingly targeted by cyber criminals

Imagine if a hacker shut down the baggage handling system of one of the world’s busiest airports. Or took control of a fleet of autonomous delivery trucks and re-routed them to disrupt rush hour traffic in a major metropolis.

What if the hacker then demanded a ransom to unlock the digital networks they’d hijacked? Joe Burton of the University of Waikato wrote that according to the latest State of the Internet report from Akamai, one of the world’s largest providers of computer servers and networks, these scenarios aren’t fantasies of some distant dystopia. They are just around the corner.

Technology continues to evolve with advances in artificial intelligence, automation, biometrics and a rapidly expanding Internet of Things. With this comes an increasing and potentially catastrophic risk of malicious actors bringing digital infrastructure and the societal services that rely on it to a grinding halt.

Even if we’re not quite there yet, there are several worrying trends highlighted in the report that show what cyber security professionals are already confronting.

DDoS for hire

The first concern relates to an increasing frequency and volume of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks — up 16% in the last year. These attacks bombard computers with huge amounts of data. They are used by malicious actors to disrupt and delay networks and make them unavailable to their users. The most famous DDoS attacks were against Estonia in 2007, shutting down banks, media organisations and government ministries.

Technology continues to evolve with advances in artificial intelligence, automation, biometrics and a rapidly expanding Internet of Things. With this comes an increasing and potentially catastrophic risk of malicious actors bringing digital infrastructure and the societal services that rely on it to a grinding halt.

Fast forward a decade and the volume of data harnessed in such attacks has increased exponentially. According to the Akamai report, the largest DDoS attack in history was recorded in February this year against a software development company. It involved a data flow of 1.35 terabytes (1,350 gigabytes) per second. The Southern Cross Cable connecting Australia and New Zealand’s internet has an estimated overall capacity of greater than 22 Tbps — due in large part to recent upgrades. Such a high-volume attack directed at a single choke point could have a big impact on transcontinental and national internet speeds.

Perhaps even more concerning is that DDoS technologies are being commercialised and sold to cyber criminals on “DDoS-for-hire” websites.

They’re also becoming more sophisticated. Previously seen as a fairly simple way of exploiting internet traffic, the latest DDoS attacks exhibit more novel ways of creating “botnets” (networks of compromised computers) to redirect data flows against a target. According to the Akamai report, attackers have been paying attention to mitigation efforts and changing the nature of their attacks as they unfold.

Hacking holidays

Cyber criminals will invariably look for the weakest links. This might be individuals who never update their passwords and use unidentified Wi-Fi networks without due diligence. Or it could be particular commercial sectors that are lagging behind in cyber security standards.

The Akamai report highlights that in the last year organised cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the tourism market. A staggering 3.9 billion malicious login attempts occurred during the last year against sites belonging to airlines, cruise lines, hotels, online travel, automotive rental and transport organisations.

Finding out who is responsible is a trickier problem. Evidence suggests that exploitation of hotel and travel sites is mostly emanating from Russia and China, and it’s possibly the work of organised cyber criminals targeting tourists for easy gain. But more work needs to be done to map cyber crime and understand the complex criminal networks that underpin it.

It’s not all doom and gloom

While the report warns of larger more destructive DDoS attacks before the end of 2018, it’s not all doom and gloom. The potential for cooperation is also evident.

In April 2018, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit and the UK National Crime Agency ran the appropriately named “Operation Power Off”. This targeted a DDoS-for-hire site that was responsible for somewhere between four and six million DDoS attacks over its lifetime. The successful operation led to arrests and likely criminal prosecutions.

These sorts of high level cyber crime collaborations are growing in frequency and strength. Our own national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in New Zealand, for example, is working with its Australian counterpart — and CERTs all around the Asia Pacific region — to identify and counter cyber crime.

The New Zealand government is currently consulting on a “refreshed” national cyber security strategy, and new powers have been invested in the Australian Signals Directorate to combat, prevent and disrupt cybercrime committed outside of Australia. So, it appears Trans-Tasman responses to these problems are growing teeth too.

 To ensure your businesses cyber security is at the forefront of what’s available, contact Domain Digital on (08) 9441 6300 or simply visit www.domaindigital.com.au to find out how to ensure you’re as safe as possible.

Hackers Using Zero-Width Spaces to Bypass MS Office 365 Protection

Swati Khandelwal wrote on The Hacker News that Security researchers have been warning about a simple technique that cybercriminals and email scammers are already being using in the wild to bypass security features of Microsoft Office 365, including Safe Links, which are originally designed to protect users from malware and phishing attacks.

Safe Links has been included by Microsoft in Office 365 as part of its ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) solution that works by replacing all URLs in an incoming email with Microsoft-owned secure URLs. Therefore, every time users click on a link provided in an email, Safe Links first sends them to a Microsoft owned domain, where it immediately checks the original link for anything suspicious. If Microsoft’s security scanners detect any malicious element, it then warns the users about it, and if not, it redirects them to the original link.

However, researchers at the cloud security company Avanan have revealed how attackers have been bypassing both Office 365’s URL reputation check and Safe Links URL protection features by using Zero-Width SPaces (ZWSPs).

Supported by all modern web browsers, zero-width spaces (listed below) are non-printing Unicode characters that typically used to enable line wrapping in long words, and most applications treat them as regular space, even though it is not visible to the eye.

Safe Links has been included by Microsoft in Office 365 as part of its ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) solution that works by replacing all URLs in an incoming email with Microsoft-owned secure URLs. 

Zero-Width Space Phishing Attack Demonstration

According to the researchers, attackers are simply inserting multiple zero-width spaces within the malicious URL mentioned in their phishing emails, breaking the URL pattern in a way that Microsoft does not recognise it as a link. “Microsoft email processing did not recognize this URL as a legitimate URL, and neither applied URL reputation checking nor converted it with Safe Links for post-click checking,” the researchers say in a blog post published Wednesday. “The email was delivered to the intended recipient; but in their inbox, users did not see the ZWSPs in the URL.”

However, when the end-users clicked on the link in the email, they were landed to a credential harvesting phishing website.

Researchers also provided a video demonstration showing what happened when they sent a malicious URL to an Office 365 inbox without any ZWSP characters inserted in the URL and with ZWSP characters inserted into the URL.

The Z-WASP attack is another chain in a list of exploits, including the baseStriker and ZeroFont attacks, that are designed to obfuscate malicious content and confuse Microsoft Office 365 security.

The security firm discovered the Z-WASP attack on more than 90 percent of Avanan’s Office 365 customers and reported the issue to Microsoft on November 10th last year after confirming its nature. See a video explaining this further:

Avanan then worked with the Microsoft security team continuously on assessing the scope of the vulnerability, which was then addressed on January 9th. To read the full article visit https://thehackernews.com/2019/01/phishing-zero-width-spaces.html

To lean more about how Domain Digital is working to protect Perth and Australian businesses from being affected by incidients like this, visit http://www.domaindigital.com.au or fill out this for for FREE, no obligation consultation to discuss your concerns

Ethereum Classic (ETC) Hit by “Double-Spend” Attack Worth $1.1M

Popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has suspended all transactions of Ethereum Classic (ETC)—the original unforked version of the Ethereum network—on their trading platforms, other products and services after detecting a potential attack on the cryptocurrency network that let someone spend the same digital coins twice, reported Swati Khandelwal of thehackernews.com

Why is this attack concerning? The heist resulted in the loss of $1.1 million worth of the Ethereum Classic digital currency. The digital currency immediately fell in price after the news came out.

Coinbase revealed Monday that it identified “a deep chain reorganisation” of the Ethereum Classic blockchain (or 51 percent attack of the network), which means that someone controlling the majority of miners on the network (over 50%) had modified the transaction history.

After reorganising the Ethereum blockchain, the attackers were able to what’s called “double spend” about 219,500 ETC by recovering previously spent coins from the rightful recipients and transferring them to new entities chosen by attackers (typically a wallet in their control).

The heist resulted in the loss of $1.1 million worth of the Ethereum Classic digital currency. The digital currency immediately fell in price after the news came out.

“We observed repeated deep reorganisations of the Ethereum Classic blockchain, most of which contained double spends,” Coinbase security engineer Mark Nesbitt said in a blog post. “The total value of the double spends that we have observed thus far is 219,500 ETC (~$1.1M).”

Coinbase identified the deep chain reorganisation of the Ethereum Classic blockchain on January 5, at which point the firm halted on-chain ETC payments in order to safeguard its customer funds and the cryptocurrency exchange itself.

An update on status.coinbase.com reads: “Due to unstable network conditions on the Ethereum Classic network, we have temporarily disabled all sends and receives for ETC. Buy and sell is not impacted. All other systems are operating normally.”

It’s worth noting that this incident was not a one-time event, as the attacks are apparently ongoing. Initially, Coinbase identified nine reorganizations containing double spends, amounted to 88,500 ETC (about $460,000), but the latest update on its blog post suggests that at least 12 additional reorganizations included double spends, totalling 219,500 ETC (nearly $1.1Million).

At the time, it is not clear whom the attackers targeted, but Coinbase reassured its customers that the cryptocurrency exchange itself had not been the target of these attacks and that no customer funds were lost. To begin with, Ethereum Classic denied the Coinbase claims, saying that the ETC network appeared to be “operating normally,” but hours later it confirmed the “successful 51% attack” on the Ethereum Classic network with “multiple” block reorganizations.

Coinbase identified the deep chain reorganisation of the Ethereum Classic blockchain on January 5, at which point the firm halted on-chain ETC payments in order to safeguard its customer funds and the cryptocurrency exchange itself.

However, Ethereum Classic said that Coinbase did not contact ETC personnel regarding the attack and added that the investigation is an “ongoing process.”

Since it is incredibly difficult or perhaps virtually impossible to mount such attacks against heavily-mined cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, attackers chose to target small-cap cryptocurrencies like Ethereum Classic, Litecoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, ZenCash (now Horizen), and Verge.

Created in June 2016, Ethereum Classic is the 18th-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of over half a billion dollars (around $539 million), which makes it an attractive target for attackers.

This article highlights just how random and impersonal cyber attacks are. You may not think you or your Australian business would be a target, but you are. To ensure you are as secure and protected as possible, contact Domain Digital to have an obligation free initial consultation FREE OF CHARGE 

The Role of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Cybersecurity

The origins of artificial intelligence (AI) can be traced all the way back to World War 2, when a team of British cryptographers developed what came to be the world’s first computer, a machine that used mathematical reasoning to decrypt polymorphic codes transmitted by the Axis powers. Historians have estimated that this innovation shortened the war by two to four years, saving between 14 and 21 million lives.

This was followed up by the birth of computer science as a field of study in the 1950’s, originally meant to simplify and automate human management of big data. With the evolution of technology and the rise of the internet, AI has been used increasingly to help information security teams to fight cyber crime, writes huntsource.io.

As technology evolves at a rapid pace, so do potential cybersecurity threats.

So what is it, what is it trying to do and how does it affect Australian, and more specifically Perth, businesses?

Using AI to Optimise Cybersecurity Results

AI can boost organisational cybersecurity by leveraging existing data to detect vulnerabilities and identify cyber attacks. According to Cisco Systems, up to 32% of businesses are currently highly dependent on AI for their cybersecurity needs. In its present form, Cybersecurity technology based on AI is being used to:

  • Accelerate incident detection using processing power and analytics
  • Identify security risks based on configuration errors and software vulnerabilities
  • Ranking and prioritising threats
  • Automate threat response

As technology evolves at a rapid pace, so do potential cybersecurity threats. Apps, smart phones and cloud services have done a great deal to simplify life for users and create great economic opportunities for IT companies and the professionals who work for them. On the other hand, more data and more software means more potential targets for hackers.

This increases the risk that cyber criminals will act while data silos are being analysed, exploiting existing vulnerabilities before they can be closed. AI can help solve this problem by dramatically decreasing the time it takes for analysts to work through and patch up security gaps.

In March 2017 IBM launched Watson for Cybersecurity, a cognitive AI tool for security operations centres (SOC’s). Watson is designed to help security professionals run through these mountains of data to quickly pinpoint real threats and generate reports in minutes. According to IBM researchers, cyber security teams go through over 200,000 security events every day, in a process that wastes up to 20,000 hours per year going after false attacks.

They also found that only around 7% of information security professionals are currently using cognitive AI tools, but expect the use of this technology to triple over the next 2-3 years.

What’s The Future?

The current state of AI in the cyber security world is what the market has been calling first generation cybersecurity AI, technology that helps humans solve problems in less time, but is nowhere close to replacing them. Since it still relies heavily on existing data, AI will have trouble detecting innovative approaches often taken by cyber criminals.

This means that AI and the automation of security processes need to be used as tools by qualified cyber security pros to optimise results. AI can’t act as a substitute for cyber security basics either. These include using separate devices for personal and professional purposes and taking care not to fall prey to phishing scams and social engineering.

For companies looking to integrate AI into their cyber security strategy, the number of security professionals they should keep on staff varies depending on their size and scope of operations. The development of AI software as a service (SaaS) has been rolling full steam ahead and should help information security professionals with basic tasks such as threat detection.

The current state of AI in the cyber security world is what the market has been calling first generation cybersecurity AI, technology that helps humans solve problems in less time, but is nowhere close to replacing them.

Some observers like Sam Bouso, founder of the AI cybersecurity company Precognitive, reckon that certain jobs involving security analysis, intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment will be in direct competition with AI within the next five to ten years.

As threat detection becomes increasingly automated through AI, certain entry level cyber security jobs on the defensive security side may be affected, while jobs related to offensive security like penetration testers, along with managerial positions are unlikely to face threats from AI.

 Domain Digital’s team specialise in offensive cyber security and work hard to stay ahead of the curs as cybersecurity specialists. For an obligation free consultation, simply fill out this form and one of staff will be in touch 

Perth Law Firms Losing $1,000’s – 5 Factors Why

Law firms typically operate on “billable hours,” even a single hour of downtime can be costly for legal professionals. However, a managed service provider (MSP) such as Domain Digital, that offers data backup and disaster recovery (BDR) and business continuity solutions can help a law firm minimise downtime. Here’s how:

MSPs can provide data BDR (Business Disaster Recovery) and business continuity solutions that not only address a Perth law firms’ compliance and regulatory issues but also can prevent downtime, according to data Domain Digital has compiled over many, many years managing these types of IT environments.

Law firms are increasingly dependent on electronic assets, which can put them at great risk should they experience downtime” Domain Digital CEO Charlie Stephens warns. Charlie also goes on to note the 5 factors that impact on a law firms bottom line.

These are the Five factors that often impact law firms’ downtime costs:

A law firm that leverages data BDR and business continuity solutions can avoid costly downtime and other problems. 

  1. The cost of continuing without data – Can your law firm continue to operate without data? This can be difficult and in many cases it could prove to be extremely time-consuming and costly to recover.
  2. The cost of recreating data – A law firm that wants to recreate its lost data could encounter numerous expenses along the way. This includes, but may not be limited to, the time it takes to get all the data back to a point where business can resume, paying your employees wages whilst they sit around and wait to be able to work, 3rd party assistance if required, you get the idea.
  3. The cost of notifying users in the event of a compromise – If a law firm’s client or employee information is compromised, it could be expensive to notify all of the people who may have been affected. Not to mention the potential fines that can now be levied under the Australian Government’s “Mandatory Data Breach Regulations”.
  4. Loss of reputation – Your law firm may have built a sterling reputation in the Perth and greater Australian business community over the years, but downtime could cause even long-time clients to consider alternatives.
  5. Fees incurred due to a compliance breach – It sometimes can take weeks, months or even years to fully recovery from a compliance breach fine, and this incident’s costs could hinder your law firm’s growth.

Solutions provided and managed by Domain Digital will ensure these types of scenarios can be avoided.

A law firm that leverages data BDR and business continuity solutions can avoid costly downtime and other problems. Solutions provided and managed by Domain Digital will ensure these types of scenarios can be avoided.

Domain Digital can offer law firms BDR and business continuity solutions to help them protect their sensitive information against security threats, comply with government regulations and avoid potential lost revenue.

To learn how Domain Digital can save your firm thousands of dollars a year, just ask

The Ugly Truth for Perth Businesses – IT Downtime costs $1,000’s

Every business wants to reduce their costs, right? But what if avoiding technology upgrades to reduce expenditures was actually increasing them? According to Gartner, The average cost of network downtime is around $5,600 per minute. That is around $300,000 per hour. For any business, $300,000/hr is a lot on the line.

Beyond the monetary costs, IT downtime can wear on your business’s productivity levels. Every time you get interrupted, it takes on average 23 minutes to get refocused on your prior task.

Network failures and power outages aren’t the only culprits when it comes to downtime either. Other top factors include:

  1. Outdated Software and Hardware
  2. Mother Nature
  3. Human Error

So how do you know where you stand when it comes to downtime costs? Here is a simple way to calculate how your business could be affected:

IT Downtime Formula:

Cost of Downtime (per hour) = Lost Revenue + Lost Productivity + Recovery Costs + Intangible Costs


Lost Revenue

You need to calculate the amount of revenue generated per hour by your business. This would be the revenue per week/40 hrs. An important component to figure out your lost revenue is your business’s revenue dependence on uptime.

Uptime is time/percentage your site is up and operational online. For example, if you are an e-commerce store and solely sell online, you are 100% dependent on the internet for your business’s revenue. You will need to estimate the percentage amount of your revenue that is dependent on uptime.

Lost Revenue = Revenue/hr x downtime(hrs) x uptime(%)

Example: If my revenue is $3,000/hr and my network was down for 2 hours and my uptime percentage is 30% my lost revenue would equal: $1,800/hr.

Lost Productivity

Due to down servers, employees are unable to perform their jobs. But their salaries are a fixed cost and do not change even during the downtime.

To calculate the productivity lost, you must first calculate each employee’s salary/hr. Then, estimate the percentage of productivity that is dependent on uptime and this could be different across employees.

(Uptime, remember, is simply the time or percentage your site is up and operational.)

This percentage is known as the Utilisation Percentage.

Due to down servers, employees are unable to perform their jobs. But their salaries are a fixed cost and do not change even during the downtime.

Lost Productivity = Employee Salary/hr x Utilisation % x Number of employees(with same Utilisation %)

Recovery Costs

These are the costs accrued while fixing the issue. They can include but are not limited to:

  • Repair services
  • Replacement parts
  • Lost data recovery
  • Other costs due to loss of data

These may not be as tangible at revenue and productivity costs, but they are equally as important when deducing your real downtime costs.

Intangible Costs

These are the costs that can sting the most for the long-term. These occur when downtime damages your reputation or your brand.

These costs ultimately affect businesses that rely heavily on uptime. Including intangible costs into the Total Downtime Cost Formula gives a better understanding of the long-term consequences that can occur due to downtime.

Final Cost

Once you have calculated each separate cost, you can now finally plug them into the main formula and tally up your total downtime cost.

Does the number surprise you? Read more here, https://www.domaindigital.com.au/it-services-perth/data-recovery-and-server-backups/

If you are ready to end the risk of downtime, contact Domain Digital

1 2 3

Want to know more about how Domain Digital’s IT services in Perth could be of value to your business?